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Volume 15 Number 213 - Sunday, 26 October 2014
SUMMARY OF THE TENTH MEETING OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION’S CHEMICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE
22-24 OCTOBER 2014

The tenth meeting of the Chemical Review Committee (CRC-10) to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade took place from 22-24 October 2014 in Rome, Italy. In total, 59 participants attended the meeting, including 27 Committee members, 21 government and party observers, four representatives of intergovernmental organizations, and seven representatives of non-governmental organizations.

CRC-10 adopted decisions on: methamidophos, fenthion (ultra low volume, at or above 640g active ingredient/L), polychlorinated naphthalenes, tributyltin, and short-chained chlorinated paraffins. As in previous years, the Committee moved through its agenda efficiently, although this year’s agenda was relatively light, which to some signaled that parties were not using this effective subsidiary body to its full potential.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION AND THE CHEMICAL REVIEW COMMITTEE

Growth in internationally-traded chemicals during the 1960s and 1970s prompted efforts by the international community to safeguard people and the environment from the harmful effects of such chemicals. These efforts resulted in the adoption of the International Code of Conduct for the Distribution and Use of Pesticides by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the London Guidelines for the Exchange of Information on Chemicals in International Trade by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Both the Code of Conduct and the London Guidelines include procedures aimed at making information about hazardous chemicals readily available, thereby permitting countries to assess the risks associated with their use. In 1989, both instruments were amended to include a voluntary prior informed consent (PIC) procedure, managed jointly by the FAO and UNEP, to give countries the opportunity to refuse future imports of a number of hazardous chemicals banned or severely restricted in other countries.

At the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, delegates adopted Agenda 21, which called for an international strategy for action on chemical safety (Chapter 19), and urged states to achieve full participation in, and implementation of, the PIC procedure by 2000, with the possible adoption of a legally-binding PIC Convention.

In November 1994, the 107th meeting of the FAO Council agreed that the FAO Secretariat should proceed with the preparation of a draft PIC Convention as part of the joint FAO/UNEP programme. In May 1995, the 18th session of the UNEP Governing Council adopted Decision 18/12, authorizing the Executive Director to convene, with the FAO, an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) with a mandate to prepare an international legally-binding instrument for the application of the PIC procedure. The INC met five times and the Rotterdam Convention was adopted at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries, which was held from 10-11 September 1998, in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Convention entered into force on 24 February 2004.

At the core of the Rotterdam Convention is the PIC procedure, which is a mechanism for obtaining and disseminating the decisions of importing parties as to whether they wish to receive future shipments of certain chemicals and for ensuring compliance with these decisions by exporting parties. The PIC procedure applies to chemicals listed in Annex III, which includes pesticides, industrial chemicals, and severely hazardous pesticide formulations (SHPF).

There are two ways to trigger the addition of new chemicals to Annex III. All parties must notify the Secretariat of any regulatory action they have adopted to domestically ban or severely restrict a chemical for environmental or health reasons. When the Secretariat receives two notifications of final regulatory actions from two different PIC regions that meet the criteria established in Annex II to the Convention (properties, identification and uses of the chemical and information on the regulatory action), it must forward the notifications to the CRC. The CRC reviews the notifications to determine if they meet the criteria contained in Annex II and, if it finds that they do, recommends the listing of the chemical in Annex III and prepares a “decision guidance document” (DGD) for consideration by the Conference of the Parties (COP). As for SHPFs, any party that is a developing country or country with an economy in transition can propose the listing of a SHPF, which the Committee screens against Annex IV criteria.

INC 6-11: In the period prior to the Convention’s entry into force, the INC met six times from 1999 to 2004. During that time, the INC agreed to draft decisions on the definition and provisional adoption of PIC regions, the establishment of an Interim Chemical Review Committee, and the adoption of draft DGDs for chemicals already identified for inclusion in the PIC procedure. They also prepared draft decisions for the first COP meeting, including on financial arrangements and dispute settlement procedures. Chemicals added to the interim PIC procedure during these sessions include ethylene dichloride and ethylene oxide, monocrotophos, four forms of asbestos, dinithro-ortho-cresol, dustable powder formulations of benomyl, carbofuran, thiram, tetraethyl lead, tetramethyl lead, and parathion. Discussions of the inclusion of a fifth form of asbestos—chrysotile—were initiated at INC-10 but no agreement was reached.

COP-1: The first meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention, held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 20-24 September 2004, adopted all the decisions required to make the legally-binding PIC procedure operational. Delegates addressed procedural issues and other decisions associated with the entry into force of the Convention, such as: PIC regions; inclusion of chemicals in Annex III recommended during the interim period; adoption of financial rules and provisions for the COP, the subsidiary bodies, and the Secretariat; establishment of the CRC; cooperation with the World Trade Organization; settlement of disputes; and the location of the Secretariat.

CRC-1: The first session of the CRC convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 11-15 February 2005. The Committee agreed that chrysotile asbestos met Annex II criteria and should be subject to the PIC procedure, and agreed to draft a DGD for consideration at CRC-2.

COP-2: This meeting convened from 27-30 September 2005 in Rome, Italy. Delegates adopted decisions on, inter alia: operational procedures of the CRC; the finalization of the arrangements between UNEP and FAO for the provision of the Secretariat; pilot projects on the delivery of regional technical assistance; and cooperation and synergies among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Delegates also forwarded bracketed text on a compliance mechanism to COP-3, and tasked the Secretariat with a study on financial mechanisms.

CRC-2: This meeting convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 13-17 February 2006, and recommended the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in the Convention’s PIC Procedure. The Committee also agreed tributyltin and endosulfan met Annex II criteria and agreed to draft a DGD.

COP-3: This meeting convened from 9-13 October 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. COP-3 considered several reports on activities within the Convention’s mandate and adopted 16 decisions on, inter alia: implementation of the Convention; financial mechanisms; and cooperation and coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Delegates did not reach agreement on the mechanisms and procedures for non-compliance and deferred the decision on listing chrysotile asbestos in Annex III to COP-4.

CRC-3: The third session of the CRC convened in Rome, Italy from 20-23 March 2007. The Committee agreed on the draft DGDs for endosulfan and tributyltin and recommended including them in the Convention’s PIC Procedure.

CRC-4: The fourth session of the CRC convened in Geneva, Switzerland from 10-13 March 2008. The Committee agreed that alachlor and aldicarb met Annex II criteria.

COP-4: This meeting convened from 27-31 October 2008, in Rome, Italy, and adopted 13 decisions, including the addition of tributyltin compounds to Annex III of the Convention. The meeting also adopted: a decision on progress in the implementation; and the recommendations of the Ad Hoc Joint Working Group on Enhancing Cooperation and Coordination among the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions. Delegates could not agree on the inclusion of endosulfan or chrysotile asbestos in Annex III, or on mechanisms and procedures for non-compliance. They agreed to revisit these issues at COP-5.

CRC-5: The fifth session of the CRC convened in Rome, Italy, from 23-27 March 2009, and recommended the inclusion of alachlor and aldicarb in the Convention’s PIC Procedure.

CRC-6: The sixth session of the CRC was held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 15-19 March 2010. The Committee approved a revised DGD on endosulfan and again recommended the inclusion of endosulfan in the Convention’s PIC Procedure.

CRC-7: The seventh session of the CRC was held in Rome, Italy, from 28 March - 1 April 2011, and recommended the inclusion of azinphos-methyl in the Convention’s PIC Procedure. CRC-7 agreed to draft DGDs for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), its salts and the precursor perfluorooctane sulfonyl fluoride, and bromodiphenyl ethers (BDEs) contained in commercial mixtures, including tetraBDE, pentaBDE, hexaBDE, heptaBDE, octaBDE, nonaBDE, and decaBDE.

COP-5: This meeting convened in Geneva, Switzerland, from 20-24 June 2011. COP-5 adopted 13 decisions, including listing aldicarb, alachlor, and endosulfan in Annex III of the Convention. The meeting also adopted decisions on technical assistance, synergies, information exchange, trade and the work of the CRC. Delegates could not agree on mechanisms and procedures for non-compliance and the inclusion of chrysotile asbestos in Annex III to the Convention.

CRC-8: CRC-8 was held from 19-23 March 2012 in Geneva, Switzerland. It considered notifications for trichlorfon and dicofol, and recommended that the COP list penta- and octa-BDEs, and PFOS. CRC-8 agreed to recommend to the COP that it list certain liquid formulations containing paraquat dichloride, a SHPF, in Annex III. It also decided to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the CRC and the Stockholm Convention’s Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), such as through holding back-to-back meetings of the two Committees.

COP-6: COP-6 was held back-to-back with the COPs of the Stockholm and Basel Conventions and a simultaneous extraordinary meeting of the three COPs (ExCOPs-2) from 28 April - 10 May 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. COP-6 decided to amend Annex III to list: azinphos-methyl; commercial pentaBDE, including industrial tetra-BDE and industrial pentaBDE; commercial octaBDE, including hexaBDE and heptaBDE; and PFOS, perfluorooctanesulfonates, perfluorooctanesulfonamides and perfluorooctanesulfonyls. COP-6 decided that while liquid formulations (emulsifiable concentrate and soluble concentrate) containing paraquat dichloride at or above 276 g/L, corresponding to paraquat ion at or above 200 g/L, met the listing criteria for a SHPF, it would postpone a decision until COP-7. A decision on listing chrysotile asbestos also was deferred to COP-7.

ExCOPs-2 recommended the implementation of joint activities between the CRC and POPRC; requested alignment of the CRC working arrangements with those of the POPRC to allow for effective participation of experts and observers at meetings; and requested the CRC and the POPRC to discuss and identify further steps to enhance the cooperation and coordination between them, where practical and in accordance with their autonomous mandates and terms of reference.

CRC-9: CRC-9 was held from 22-24 October 2013 in Rome, Italy. The Committee took decisions on: trichlorfon; cyhexatin; methamidophos; lead arsenate; lead carbonate; fenthion 640 ultra low volume (ULV); and pentachlorobenzene. The Committee also requested the Secretariat to prepare an electronic “handbook” of Committee procedures and guidance to be considered at CRC-10.

CRC-10 REPORT

On Wednesday, 22 October 2014, Chair Jürgen Helbig (Spain) opened CRC-10, welcoming the Co-Executive Secretaries of the Rotterdam Convention. Co-Executive Secretary Clayton Campanhola, FAO, underlined the CRC’s role to realize the FAO’s goal of making agriculture, forestry and fisheries more productive and sustainable. He observed that no new notifications of final regulatory action for pesticides are on the CRC-10 agenda, but stated the Secretariat is increasing its efforts to support such notifications. Co-Executive Secretary Rolph Payet stated that a “post-synergies world” is already possible at the global level and noted that two chemicals on the CRC-10 agenda―polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs) and short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs)―have recently been discussed by the POPRC of the Stockholm Convention.

Chair Helbig wished everyone “fruitful discussions and meaningful outcomes” and introduced the provisional agenda (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/1), which was adopted, and reviewed the proposed organization of work (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/1/Add.1). He introduced the rotation of the membership (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/3), noting that there are 15 new members and two members starting their second terms: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Cameroon, Canada, China, Ethiopia, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Malaysia, Morocco, Pakistan, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Spain, Thailand, the Netherlands and Togo.

TECHNICAL WORK

Draft guidance document: Methamidophos: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision guidance document (DGD) for methamidophos, an organophosphate insecticide (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/2) and the comments and further information related to the draft DGD (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/4). Gilberto Fillmann (Brazil), Co-Chair of the intersessional drafting group, noted the group’s work closely followed the guidelines contained in a newly developed handbook of working procedures and policy guidance for the CRC (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/18), and that most of the comments were editorial and eventually accepted.

CropLife International raised the concern that they had already expressed at CRC-9, questioning which of the two regulatory actions taken by Brazil constituted the “final” regulatory action. Chair Helbig responded that this issue was extensively discussed and addressed at CRC-9, and suggested proceeding with the draft DGD. The Committee agreed, and asked the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision.

On Thursday, Fillmann highlighted that a member had suggested changes to the draft DGD, saying most were editorial with the exception of inconsistent values cited for earthworm testing. He explained that one value in the report was from another formulation containing methamidophos and this value was removed.

The Secretariat introduced the draft decision and it was adopted without amendment by the Committee.

Final Decision: In its final decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.4), the CRC adopts the draft DGD for methamidophos and decides to forward it, together with the related tabular summary of comments, to the COP for its consideration.

Draft guidance document: Fenthion (ultra low volume formulations at or above 640g active ingredient/L): On Wednesday, the Secretariat presented its note (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/3) containing a draft DGD for fenthion (ultra low volume (ULV) formulations at or above 640g active ingredient/L), which is an organothiophosphate insecticide, prepared by the intersessional drafting group established at CRC-9, and a summary of comments and further information received (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/5). Anja Bartels (Austria), Co-Chair of the intersessional drafting group, noted the changes made to reflect updated information on the registration of fenthion in the United States. Germany supported the change. The Committee agreed to ask the Secretariat to draft a decision to adopt the draft DGD on fenthion.

On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision, which the Committee adopted without amendment.

Final Decision: In its decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.5), the CRC adopts the draft DGD for fenthion (ULV formulations at or above 640g active ingredient/L) and decides to forward it, together with the related tabular summary of comments, to the COP for its consideration.

Report of the Bureau on the preliminary review of notifications of final regulatory action: On Thursday, CRC Vice-Chair Magdalena Frydrych (Poland) introduced the report of the Bureau (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/4), information on the trade in chemicals under consideration by the CRC (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/6), and the summary record of notifications of final regulatory action reviewed by the interim CRC and the notifications scheduled for review by the CRC (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/7). The Committee took note of the reports.

Review of notifications of final regulatory action: Polychlorinated naphthalenes: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the notifications of final regulatory action for polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCNs), which are used as insulating coatings for electrical wires, wood preservatives, rubber and plastic additives, and in lubricants (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/5) and supporting documentation provided by Japan and Canada (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/8 and INF/9).

Sarah Maillefer (Switzerland), Co-Chair of the intersessional task group, presented the group’s report (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.2). She stated that, although the report indicates that both the notifications of final regulatory action of Canada and Japan met all criteria set out in Annex II, upon further information provided by the observers from Japan, the notification from Japan does not meet the criterion of Annex II b(iii) (risk evaluation based on prevailing conditions). She explained that the documentation provided during the pre-meeting on Tuesday (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/8/Rev.1) clarified that the biodegradation and bioaccumulation studies included in the initial notification were not considered when the final regulatory action was taken.

Chair Helbig observed that this further information affected the overall conclusion on the Japanese notification and he invited comments from Committee members and observers. Germany, with the Netherlands, supported the conclusion that the notification from Japan was not based on a risk assessment, and therefore did not meet all the Annex II criteria.

The Gambia suggested clarifying that the reference to bioaccumulative “substances” refer to PCNs specifically and CropLife International suggested removing the reference to potential reintroduction included in the evaluation of criterion c(iv) (evidence of ongoing international trade) in the task group’s report.

The Committee agreed that only the Canadian notification met all the Annex II criteria and established a contact group, chaired by Sarah Maillefer to draft the rationale, and asked the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision. The contact group met Thursday morning and afternoon.

On Friday, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.11) and draft rationale on PCNs (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.12). Maillefer introduced, and the Committee adopted, the draft rationale, which concludes that the notification of final regulatory action by Canada related to the industrial uses of PCNs met the Annex II criteria. The CRC adopted the draft decision without amendment.

Chair Helbig suggested, and the Committee agreed, that the Secretariat examine existing guidance and prepare a proposal for CRC-11 on addressing criterion c(iv) (evidence of ongoing international trade in the chemical).

Final Decision: In its decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.12), the CRC concludes that the notification of final regulatory action for PCNs submitted by Canada meets the criteria set out in Annex II of the Convention, adopts the rationale for the Committee’s conclusion and notes that as only one notification of final regulatory action meets the criteria set out in Annex II it will take no further action with regard to PCNs at the current time.

Review of notifications of final regulatory action: Short-chained chlorinated paraffins (SCCPs): On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the notifications of final regulatory action for SCCPs, chemicals primarily used as coolants and lubricants in metal forming and cutting (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/6) and supporting documentation provided by Norway and Canada (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/10 and INF/11). Leonarda van Leeuwen (the Netherlands), Chair of the intersessional task group, reported that the task group concluded that both notifications meet all the criteria in Annex II. On Norway’s notification, she highlighted that new references, including to the POPRC draft risk profile, which identifies international trade in SCCPs, and to Norway’s role in developing the EU Risk Assessment Report for SCCPs to further show that the chemical is traded internationally and that the final regulatory action was taken on the basis of a risk assessment. On Canada’s notification, she noted an additional reference to the POPRC draft risk profile indicating that SCCPs have carcinogenetic properties.

Chair Helbig suggested, and members agreed, to establish a contact group to develop the rationale for the Committee’s conclusions on the notifications, chaired by Leonarda van Leeuwen. The contact group met Wednesday evening.

On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the draft decision for SCCPs (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.6), the draft rationale (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.9), and a draft workplan for the preparation of the draft DGD (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.10). Van Leeuwen noted that most changes made in the contact group were editorial.

The Committee adopted the rationale, draft decision and draft work plan without amendment.

Final Decision: In the decision on SCCPs (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.6), the CRC:

•  concludes that the notifications of final regulatory action for SCCPs submitted by Norway and Canada meet the criteria in Annex II to the Convention;

•  adopts the rationale for the Committee’s conclusions as set out in the annex to the decision;

•  recommends that the COP list SCCPs in Annex III to the Convention as industrial chemicals; and

•  decides to prepare a DGD for SCCPs.

Review of notifications of final regulatory action: Tributyltin compounds: On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the notifications of final regulatory action for tributyltin compounds, used as biocides in anti-fouling paint (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/7), information pertaining to the listing of tributyltin compounds under the pesticides category of Annex II (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/12), and supporting documentation provided by Canada (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/13).

Noting that tributyltin compounds are already included in Annex III under the pesticide category, Anja Bartels, (Austria), Co-Chair of the intersessional task group, introduced the report of the group (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.1), which concluded that the notification of final regulatory action from Canada met the information requirements of Annex I and the criteria set out in Annex II of the Convention.

CropLife International suggested that the criterion of Annex II b(iii) does not appear to be met because Canada used information from their notification of tributyltin as a pesticide, and had already undertaken “stewardship” measures to restrict the pesticide. Canada responded that the risk analysis conducted under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act already took into account the existing measures and that it concluded tributyltin compounds were present in many aquatic organisms at low concentrations.

Chair Helbig proposed to establish a contact group chaired by Anja Bartels to draft the rationale, and the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision, which includes the recommendation to list tributyltin compounds in Annex III as industrial chemicals, and to revise the DGD adopted by COP-4 to include tributyltin in the industrial category as well as the pesticide category.

An observer from the US pointed out that the notification under the industrial chemicals category was submitted from one PIC region only and, therefore, there is no basis for further action because notifications must be submitted from two PIC regions.

Germany, with Australia, the Netherlands, Poland and an observer from South Africa, supported the Chair’s proposal, stating that notifications from two PIC regions is not necessary in this case because tributyltin is already listed in the Convention as a pesticide, based on notifications from two PIC regions. Chair Helbig invited the Secretariat to clarify the procedures.

The Secretariat explained that Article 5 (procedures for banned or severely restricted chemicals) of the Convention does not specify whether the notifications for the chemical in question need to be under the same use category or not. She explained that the question the CRC faces is whether one notification that meets the Annex II criteria in the industrial category, in addition to two notifications that meet the criteria under the pesticide category, for the same chemical is sufficient for the CRC to recommend listing tributyltin in the industrial category. She said this situation is new for the Committee to consider.

Brazil stressed the risk posed by tributyltin compounds in industrial uses, saying it is used in biocides and paints as a stabilizer, leading to difficulty distinguishing between its use as a pesticide and as an industrial chemical, as well as illegal uses of the chemical.

Chair Helbig suggested the CRC “digest” the information and resume the discussion in the afternoon.

In the afternoon, an observer from the US stated that it is up to the COP and not the CRC to interpret the Convention. Several CRC members expressed the view that the Convention text does not prevent the CRC from providing advice to the COP on the listing of chemicals. Chair Helbig noted that the COP will ultimately decide whether to follow the CRC’s recommendations, including whether to accept the procedure the Committee followed in making the recommendations.

The Committee established a contact group chaired by Anja Bartels to develop a rationale based on the documentation received and the discussions at CRC-10, and asked the Secretariat to prepare a draft decision.

On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the draft rationale (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.8), the draft decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.7) and the draft workplan to amend the DGD during the intersessional period (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.10). Bartels led the group through the draft rationale paragraph-by-paragraph, which was adopted without amendment.

Germany asked if the revised DGD would be considered by COP-7 or COP-8 and Chair Helbig responded that COP-8 will consider the revised draft DGD because it will take a year to be prepared and requires approval by CRC-11.

Final Decision: In its final decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/CRP.7), the CRC, inter alia:

•  concludes that the notification of final regulatory action for tributyltin compounds under the industrial category submitted by Canada meets the criteria set out in Annex II to the Rotterdam Convention;

•  adopts the rationale for the Committee’s conclusions;

•  recommends that the COP should list tributyltin compounds in Annex III to the Convention as industrial chemicals; and

•  decides to prepare a draft DGD for tributyltin compounds for the industrial category by revising the DGD adopted by the COP in decision RC-4/5 to include information relevant to the industrial category.

COORDINATION AND COLLABORATION WITH OTHER SCIENTIFIC SUBSIDIARY BODIES

On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced its note on the coordination and collaboration with other scientific subsidiary bodies (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/8), the draft guidance to assist parties to the Rotterdam Convention when a chemical under consideration is a persistent organic pollutant (POP) listed under the Stockholm Convention (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/14), a compilation of comments and responses on the draft guidance document (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/15), and responses on experience in the organization of and the benefits gained from the back-to-back meetings and the first joint meeting of the POPRC and CRC (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/16). She noted that the outcomes of CRC-10 will be reported to POPRC-10.        

Mirijam Kristina Brigitta Seng (Germany), Co-Chair of the joint intersessional working group on the draft guidance, presented the structure of the draft guidance, which follows the sequence of events in the Rotterdam Convention process: notification of a final regulatory action; review of notifications by the CRC; development of a DGD; and submission of import responses for a chemical listed in Annex III. Seng noted the comments received were both substantial and editorial and helped improve the draft.

Noting no comments on the draft guidance, or on the experiences of the back-to-back meetings and joint meeting, Chair Helbig suggested, and members agreed, to adopt the decision.

Final Decision: In the decision (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/8), the CRC requests the joint intersessional working group to finalize the draft guidance to assist parties to the Rotterdam Convention and the CRC in their work when a chemical under consideration is a POP under the Stockholm Convention, taking into account the additional comments provided by the CRC and the POPRC, and submit it to COP-7. The CRC also requests the Secretariat to report to COP-7 of the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions on the benefits gained from the back-to-back meetings of the two committees and the experience in the organization of the joint meeting on the basis of the information gathered and additional comments provided by the committees.

EFFECTIVE PARTICIPATION

On Wednesday, the Secretariat introduced the report on activities for the effective participation in the work of the Committee (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/9) and capacity-building and training activities organized by the Secretariat (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/17). She noted the orientation workshop for CRC members organized on 19-21 May 2014 in Rome, Italy, was attended by 24 Committee members.

Poland expressed appreciation for the workshop and Cameroon said the workshop report was very useful for those who were not able to attend.

The Committee agreed to note the discussion in the report of the meeting.

VENUE AND DATE OF NEXT MEETING

On Friday, the CRC agreed that the next meeting would be held 26-30 October 2015 at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. The Secretariat noted that this meeting will occur after the POPRC meeting.

OTHER MATTERS

On Thursday, the Secretariat introduced the handbook of working procedures and policy guidance for the CRC (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/18), noting that the e-handbook, published on the Convention’s website, includes revised timelines for the procedure to deal with notifications of final regulatory action to reflect the change in scheduling for the CRC meetings from March to October. The Committee took note of the document.

The Secretariat then presented the proposed Science Fair to be organized at the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions COPs in May 2015 in Geneva (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/INF/19), with the theme “From science to action, working for a safer tomorrow.” She highlighted the objective of the Fair is to increase awareness and understanding of the scientific basis of the Conventions, including clarification of the scientific processes and considerations that underpin decision-making under the three Conventions.

The International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) raised concern about the theme “turning waste into a resource” and urged the Secretariat to avoid sending the wrong messages to the general public regarding the reuse of waste containing POPs.

The observer from South Africa welcomed the idea of the Science Fair to convey simple messages to policy makers attending the COP meetings and proposed to share information on poisoning incidence at the national level, and help countries submit notifications.

The Committee established an informal group, facilitated by Magdalena Frydrych (Poland) to explore ways for the CRC to contribute to the organization of the Fair.

On Thursday afternoon, Frydrych reported that the informal group had its first meeting during the lunch break and that the group will share the results of the work with POPRC-10. The informal group suggested the Science Fair could, inter alia: stress the importance of notification of incidences at the local level; stress the importance of costs of inaction for sound chemicals management; explain the mandate, procedure and terminology of the CRC; and show the benefits of the PIC procedure to developing countries. The Secretariat said they would compile the comments received from both the CRC and POPRC and disseminate to interested members.

CLOSURE OF THE MEETING

On Friday, the Committee reviewed the draft report of the meeting (UNEP/FAO/RC/CRC.10/L.1). The Committee adopted the report with minor amendments.

Saying a couple of work-intensive days lay behind the Committee, Christine Fuell, FAO, expressed hope that the COP will follow the Committee’s recommendation and make the pesticides approved by the CRC subject to the PIC procedure, providing more information to farmers and creating a positive effect on food security.

Chair Helbig characterized CRC-10 as “short, but successful” and encouraged all participants to explore options to encourage their countries to submit notifications of final regulatory action and severely hazardous pesticide formulations. He underlined that this is an additional way that members can contribute to the objectives of the Convention.

Chair Helbig gaveled the meeting to a close at 1:08 pm.

A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF CRC-10

PLAYING BY THE NUMBERS

Despite its effectiveness, the CRC remains somewhat underworked, with few notifications from parties and in turn, fewer chemicals listed under the Convention. This situation however, is not an issue for the CRC to address on its own, but it is linked to the capacity and willingness of parties to submit notifications or proposals for severely hazardous pesticide formulations (SHPFs). The CRC reviews, not induces, parties’ proposals, breathing life into the Rotterdam Convention by recommending new chemicals to be listed and helping to ensure that it reflects and responds to the needs of countries related to hazardous chemicals that are currently traded internationally. This brief analysis looks at the ability of the CRC to work within its mandate to encourage parties to use the mechanisms to list new chemicals in the Convention.

The CRC’s primary work is to review the notifications put forward by parties of their final regulatory action taken to restrict the use or production of a chemical, or proposals for a SHPF from a developing country. If notifications from two PIC regions meet the criteria for listing the chemical in the Rotterdam Convention, the CRC recommends that the chemical should be listed in the Convention. For SHPFs, the proposals document incidents that are of concern for health or environmental reasons, in addition to other information on the formulation. Once listed by the COP, a chemical is subject to the PIC procedure, which is a mechanism to formally obtain consent of importing countries if they wish to import the chemical, to disseminate that decision, and to ensure compliance with that decision by exporting countries. The entire process is triggered by parties. Without their notifications or proposals, there are few chemicals to review at the CRC, translating into fewer chemicals that could in the future be made subject to the PIC procedure.

The few reviews that CRC-10 had on its agenda were efficiently handled, primarily because much of the work is completed intersessionally. This year’s smooth progression through the agenda is no minor achievement, however, given that half the Committee members are new, and others started their terms only last year. Efforts to instill institutional memory, such as the orientation workshop and new handbooks, seem to have worked. For these many new members, having shorter meetings with fewer chemicals on the agenda is the norm, only a few members recalled previous years with fuller agendas.

The CRC, and in turn the Rotterdam Convention, has a trickle rather than a stream of new chemicals to list in the Convention and to apply to the PIC procedure. The last three meetings saw four, two and three reviews, respectively, of notifications of final regulatory action on chemicals, compared to six at CRC-4 and eight at CRC-5. Yet, as one member pointed out, fewer reviews is not necessarily dire for the Convention. In the past, many more reviews were conducted, but in several cases the Committee concluded that one or both notifications did not meet the criteria for listing the chemical. Many notifications were set aside, and others were “orphaned,” awaiting another notification from a different PIC region.

The mandate of the CRC is to review, not solicit, notifications. Many expected new SHPF proposals to come forward, after the CRC agreed that paraquat and fenthion met the criteria at CRC-7 and CRC-9. Submitted by Burkina Faso and Chad, respectively, the proposals were approved by the CRC with little controversy and many hoped other developing countries would use the SHPF provisions in the Convention to nominate other pesticide formulations of concern. This year, however, there were no pesticides on the agenda, leaving some to wonder if the information burden is still too high for capacity-strapped countries. Still, many hoped that developing countries will start to report environmental and health incidents related to pesticide formulations in the coming months and years.

Staying within its mandate, the CRC took a proactive approach to its work. For example, the CRC opted to recommend listing tributyltin under the industrial category of Annex III, on the basis of one notification. Tributyltin is already listed in the pesticide category, based on notifications from the EU and Canada. Canada’s notification of final regulatory action on tributyltin as an industrial chemical at CRC-10 presented the question if one additional notification is sufficient. The Convention does not specify that notifications must be for the same category, or that notifications from two PIC regions are required for each category for the same chemical. Rather than interpret the Convention text, which one participant noted could be beyond the CRC’s mandate, the Committee forwarded tributyltin to the COP. If the COP approves tributyltin for listing in the industrial chemical category based on one notification in addition to the two previously approved notifications, then the CRC has set a new precedent that could facilitate future notifications for chemicals that are used both as pesticides and as industrial chemicals.

Based on the CRC’s recommendations, COP-7 will have three new chemicals to consider listing in Annex III, in addition to chrysotile asbestos and paraquat formulations, which were recommended to the COP by CRC-1 and CRC-8, respectively. It is a light agenda for the COP, as it becomes clearer that the CRC’s efficiency benefits a smaller pool of chemicals as the number of notifications dry up. Given the efficiency seen at the CRC, and ability to be proactive while working within its mandate, the Convention’s primary subsidiary body remains strong, ready for parties to use. The responsibility now falls on parties to make use of the CRC in order to help importing countries understand the risks posed by hazardous chemicals.

UPCOMING MEETINGS

Tenth Meeting of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC 10): The POPRC is a subsidiary body to the Stockholm Convention established for reviewing chemicals proposed for listing in Annex A, Annex B, and/or Annex C.  dates: 27-30 October 2014  location: Rome, Italy  contact: Stockholm Convention Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8729   fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: ssc@pops.int  www: http://www.pops.int  

Sixth Session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Mercury (INC-6): As mandated in the resolution on arrangements in the interim period adopted by the Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) on mercury will meet during the period between the date on which the Convention is opened for signature and the date of the opening of the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention to facilitate the rapid entry into force of the Convention and its effective implementation upon its entry into force.  dates: 3-7 November 2014  location: Bangkok, Thailand   contact: Sheila Logan, Interim Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8511  fax: +41-22-797-3460  email: mercury.chemicals@unep.org  www: http://www.mercuryconvention.org/Negotiations/INC6/tabid/3563/Default.aspx

Joint Meeting of the Bureaux of the Conferences to the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions: The Joint Bureaux of the Conferences of the Parties (COPs) to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions is expected to agree to organization of work of the upcoming Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm COPs and other organizational matters related to the back-to-back meetings. dates: 11-12 November 2014  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Secretariats  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: brs@brsmeas.org  www: http://synergies.pops.int/

Second Meeting of the SAICM OEWG: The second meeting of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) is expected to: review and prioritize proposals for emerging policy issues in preparation for the fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4); consider proposals for the inclusion of new activities in the Global Plan of Action; consider the outcomes of regional meetings; and identify priority issues for consideration at ICCM4.  dates: 15-17 December 2014  location: Geneva, Switzerland  contact: SAICM Secretariat  phone: +41-22-917-8532  fax: +41-22-797-3460  email: saicm.chemicals@unep.org www: http://www.saicm.org/

Basel COP-12, Rotterdam COP-7 and Stockholm COP-7: The 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Basel Convention, seventh meeting of the COP to the Rotterdam Convention, and seventh meeting of the COP to the Stockholm Convention are expected to convene back-to-back in May 2015.  dates: 3-14 May 2015  location: Geneva, Switzerland   contact: Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Secretariats  phone: +41-22-917-8729  fax: +41-22-917-8098  email: brs@brsmeas.org  www: http://synergies.pops.int/

GLOSSARY

COP     
CRC
DGD
FAO
PCNs     
PIC
POPRC
POPs     
SCCPs
SHPF
UNEP     

Conference of the Parties
Chemical Review Committee to the Rotterdam Convention
Decision guidance document
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Polychlorinated naphthalenes
Prior informed consent
Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to the Stockholm Convention
Persistent organic pollutants
Short-chained chlorinated paraffins
Severely hazardous pesticide formulation
United Nations Environment Programme

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This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Jennifer Allan, Qian Cheng and Laura Russo. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV and DG-CLIMATE) and the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC)). General Support for the Bulletin during 2014 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Specific funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Wallonia, Québec, and the International Organization of La Francophonie/Institute for Sustainable Development of La Francophonie (IOF/IFDD). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022 USA.
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